The Frontstretch: Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Richmond by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday September 14, 2011

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Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Richmond

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday September 14, 2011


Frontstretch Power Rankings

The “Regular Season” came to an end Saturday night with Kevin Harvick shaking off his Summer slump to score his fourth win of the season. He was one of the few cars to make it through the night without significant damage in a race slowed by 15 caution flags. Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch played bumper cars twice during the event while Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit just about everything but the pace car during the 400 laps. Fortunately for Earnhardt he was able to bring his ride home in 16th which allowed him to secure the final spot in the top 10 and a position in the Chase. Tony Stewart’s night was a little less eventful, as he soldiered home to a quiet seventh place finish.

Did Harvick’s win give him a push up the standings to the top spot? Jeff Gordon came home in the third spot, was that good enough to keep him in the number one position in the rankings? Has Dale Earnhardt’s slow and methodical approach been enough to keep him in the top 15? Check out this week’s Top 15 Power Rankings to see if your favorite driver was avoided the carnage that befell 25 cars Saturday night or if he ended up in the garage waiting for NASCAR’s permission to get back on the track.

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Jeff Gordon (4) 117 1
Seen slipping Kurt Busch a handful of Benjamins on the way out of Richmond this weekend.
2 Kyle Busch 107 4
Made the best of a bad situation at Richmond. Now, the key is to keep those pressure points from boiling over when it really counts.
3 Carl Edwards 105 5
The contract is signed, 2012 sponsors are in place and the best equipment is suddenly leaning Cousin Carl’s way once again. Nail a few backflips over the next ten weeks, and this guy’s back to being the best title contender not affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports.
4 Jimmie Johnson (1) 97 2
Kurt thinks he’s in Jimmie’s head. Jimmie thinks he’s in Kurt’s head. And the rest of the field is ready to run off and leave them butting heads if the two don’t cut it out and focus on the Chase.
5 Kevin Harvick 95 7
Amazing that there was a huge blow up between drivers and another blow up between a driver and media and Harvick wasn’t part of either of them.
6 Brad Keselowski (1) 92 3
Momentum looks to have cooled just a little, but he still looks stronger than half the Chase field.
7 Kurt Busch 83 T – 8
The I Need a Hug Tour rolls on through Richmond.
8 Matt Kenseth 80 6
You know NASCAR economics are a problem when one of the 12 Chasers doesn’t even have a sponsor lined up for 2012.
9 Ryan Newman 72 T – 8
While everyone is looking at his boss, Newman just might sneak in and snatch this title from under everyone’s noses.
10 Denny Hamlin 61 10
Now that he’s in the Chase, will he make a charge or fold up his tent?
11 Tony Stewart 56 11
Won’t it be interesting if Stewart can win a championship without winning a single race?
12 A.J. Allmendinger 45 12
Leading this year’s Mr. Mediocrity sweepstakes as the best driver not to make the Chase. But considering this time last year, when his team wasn’t even sure if they’d have paychecks to cash every Friday we’d consider 2011 a mild improvement.
13 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 44 T – 13
He limped into the Chase, but he made it. Now we’ll find out if Steve Letarte really can make the most popular driver in the sport a winner again.
14 David Ragan 27 NR
Second is the first loser. Fourth? That sends you packing with a pink slip, heading towards the unemployment line instead of pulling the biggest upset in Chase history to date.
15 Jamie McMurray 25 NR
Led the fourth most laps Saturday night, although you wouldn’t know it from the television coverage.
Dropped Out: Martin Truex, Jr. (T – 13), Marcos Ambrose (15).
Others Receiving Votes: Mark Martin (23), Greg Biffle (22), Marcos Ambrose (22), Martin Truex, Jr. (19), Juan Pablo Montoya (12), Joey Logano (12), Kasey Kahne (11), Clint Bowyer (9), Regan Smith (7), Casey Mears (6), Dave Blaney (4), Jeff Burton (3), Stephen Leicht (2), Paul Menard (2).
Writer Voters Include: Phillip Allaway, Tom Bowles, Bryan Keith, Tony Lumbis, Vito Pugliese, Mike Neff and Garrett Horton.

Contact Mike Neff

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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Wendy Janke
09/14/2011 03:18 AM

Why is Matt Kenseth not listed anywhere in this listed even the drop outs?

09/14/2011 08:28 AM

No Matt Kenseth and Hamlin is ranked twice?

Managing Editor
09/14/2011 09:34 AM

Hey guys,

We had a computer glitch where Denny Hamlin was accidentally ranked twice. Our apologies for the error… the chart has been fixed. Kenseth is eighth, and Hamlin is actually tenth behind Ryan Newman.

Thanks for pointing it out, and again, sorry for the error!

09/14/2011 04:49 PM

I’m amazed that Jimmy Spencer has been the only other person, other than Jeff Gordon that noticed that it was an RCR car than magically gave Harvick his much needed caution. Menard entered on the back side of the track, was not running anywhere near the minimum speed and just happened to spin out on the front stretch grass. Then the first thing Harvick say’s to Richard Childress in victory lane is “Thank’s!” I smell team order’s and so does everyone else who noticed!


Contact Mike Neff

Recent articles from Mike Neff:

Special Winter Sprint Car Series set for January debut at Cocopah Speedway
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Want to find out more about Mike Neff? Maybe see all the articles he's written here at the Frontstetch? Check out his article archive and bio page then!